Wisconsin Wave

Uniting Wisconsinites for democracy and shared prosperity

This is an archived version of the Wisconsin Wave website.


None of Wisconsin's races for the House of Representatives was even close last week.

Every incumbent won by double-digit margins.

That's a shame that needs to change. Voters deserve real competition and choice — not rigged voting district maps drawn to protect the incumbents of both major political parties.

One of the closest House races, which wasn't close at all, belonged to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville.

Ryan didn't spend much time campaigning in southeast Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District this fall because he was on the Republican ticket for vice president. That gave his Democratic opponent an opening and ability to raise millions in out-of-state money to fuel an aggressive challenge.

Yet Ryan still easily won by 12 percentage points.

Northern Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District was supposed to be competitive because it pitted first-time U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Weston, against a well-known state senator and former television anchor.

Despite a huge year for Democrats in statewide races, Duffy won by 12 percentage points. So did U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Sherwood, another House freshman, in northeastern Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District.

Duffy and Ribble previously won by single-digit margins in 2010.

Democratic incumbents benefited from redistricting, too. For example, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, won western Wisconsin's 3rd District by 28 percentage points Tuesday, compared to just 4 points in 2010.

Here's what happened: The Republicans who run the state Legislature surgically drew the state's new voting district maps to their advantage, moving more Republican-leaning communities into the majority of seats the GOP hoped to keep, and packing more Democratic-leaning areas into seats they've had a hard time winning. (Had the Democrats been in charge, they would have done the same thing).

That's not fair to voters in any part of the state including Madison, where U.S. Rep.-elect Mark Pocan will draw only token opposition.

The process of redrawing voting district boundaries after each major census needs reform. The power of the people — not the politicians — must be restored.

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